I could feel the last burst of energy drain out of her as she went limp in my hands. I released her neck, stood up straight and stretched my spine. She had been much stronger than I expected. I touched my forehead where she had hit me with her phone and felt a lump beginning to form. I looked around.
“Stop making that sound”, Nana’s mother said. “You know I don’t like it when you do that.”
“But I’m hungry mama”. Said five year old Nana.
“I know you are. Just a little while longer and the food will be ready. You hear? Oya come have some more water.”
Nana’s mother scoops some water from the bucket in the corner and gives it to her. She drinks the water and goes to lie down on the mat in the room, where her two year old brother was lying, fast asleep.
Nana’s mother looks at her and smiles. Nana smiled back and her mother looked away so Nana won’t see the tears threatening to roll out of her eyes. The firewood was beginning to burn fiercely now and the smoke filled everywhere. She removed a few sticks to reduce the embers of the flames. Her eyes watered now and the tears came freely. It was hard to tell if the tears were as a result of the smoke or the pleading look she saw in her daughter’s eyes. Or was it the rise and fall of Bibi’s oddly protruding stomach, so huge for such a small frame?
Or the never ending sound the rain water made as it dropped into the pale long after the rain had stopped? Could it be the fact that there was just a cup of rice left, which she was saving for tomorrow morning, from the three cups mama Japhet had been kind enough to give her?
Could it be the pesky mosquito constantly buzzing around her ear and her powerlessness to do anything about it? Her constant swatting at the mosquito with a broom yielded no result. She turned to look at Nana through the open door, she was fast asleep. She went in, picked up the wrapper lying on the lone chair in the room and covered them with it. She caressed Nana’s brown coloured hair and turned Bibi on his side. She walked out, not before hitting the empty tin of milk Bibi was playing with earlier, sending it towards the door. She froze and slowly turned around to make sure the sound had not woken up the children. Seeing them still fast asleep, she breathed a sigh of relief, picked up the can and kept it aside.
She went back to the fire burning steadily now. She removed the remaining firewood and quenched the fire. She brought the pot down and carried it to the back of the house. She stood there, with tears running down her cheeks, for what seemed like forever, opened it and poured out the water and stones. She sighed and went back into the house.
So I wrote this sometime last year in court; one of those days when I was bored out of my mind. I just picked up my phone and started typing away and as usual, I tucked it away. I found it recently, dusted it up and decided to share it. It’s unlike anything I have ever written. So ’nuff said, enjoy.
My name is Tega, I’m what you might call a playboy although I find that term very derogatory and a smear on my reputation and what I stand for. I mean, the fact that I occasionally like to hang out with more than one girl at a time isn’t so bad and it sure as hell doesn’t make me a playboy! I’m just having fun and as a matter of fact, so are they! Nothing wrong with eating your cake and having it now, is there? So yes I’m just your average guy;not so tall but what I lack in height, I make up for in other areas like good looks and being a genius in the bedroom! But hey, I do not want to toot my own horn (pun intended) but my vast array of past and present girlfriends would gladly do as they can’t seem to get enough. Hey, I like to have fun, sue me!
Anyway, my dates never know about each other. And that’s how I like to keep it; confidential. That way, I’m in total control. I absolutely hate to lose control but on this fateful day, let’s just say the word “control”, made a chaotic exit from my dictionary! It all started out as a really good day.At the time, I was seeing Coco, Rita and Sade, my girlfriends from hell! But I am getting ahead of myself. I had planned a date with Coco. Okay, now a little profile on Coco. She’s tall, beautiful, curvy in all the right places and has somehow, by a stroke of genius, been the only other person to match my pace in the sac after Jane (ah Jane…) Hence she’s my favourite of the lot. So I had planned a date with Coco for that Friday evening. Then I would spend the whole day with Rita on Saturday and Sade on Sunday evening. Okay, about Rita, she’s the most intelligent of the lot. She’s pretty, not like Coco, she has softer features and we have stimulating conversations. So she’s there for both her brains and prowess in the bedroom. She doesn’t hold a candle to Coco though and miles away from Jane (Ah Jane…). As for Sade, she has the figure of a model and ultra flexible! Not exactly intelligent but very street smart. Of all three, Coco is closest to an air head. And none of them matches up to Jane (Ah Jane…) in anyway. But hey, they give me what I want, so no complaints from me. Anyway, back to this fateful Friday, I met up with Coco, we did movies, a light dinner and proceeded to our usual hotel room. After the first round of mind altering sex, (she hurt my back a little) we were both lying there trying to catch our breaths, there was a knock on the door. She got up to get it as I was totally spent. It was room service. My eyes were closed at this point and for what seemed like a lifetime, there was this eerie silence. I opened my eyes and it took a while to adjust to the light. Then I spotted them; Coco, Rita and Sade, standing above me with a mixture of disgust and anger on their faces. I immediately sat up and was frantically searching for something to cover my nakedness.
“What… are you guys doing here? How did you…?”
“How did we get here? Or how do we know each other? Oh that’s a story we would not bore you with” Rita responded with a soft smile on her face. “It was a stroke of fate really but like I said no boring sob stories.” She finished, snapping her gloves tighter around her hands. That was when I noticed their ensemble. They were all wearing black tops and trousers with leather gloves. In my shock I didn’t realize Coco had donned on the same outfit and before I could say Jack, they all pounced on me. Someone was tying something around my mouth another was holding my hands and before I knew anything, I was being punched, slapped and pulled all over my body. And due to the intense session I just had with Coco not more than ten minutes ago, I was still a little weak. And these girls were fast! They beat me up without even breaking a sweat and all the while telling me that I had messed with the wrong girls! Apparently they had been planning this for a while, waiting for the right time and my, did they get me! I was sore for days nay…weeks after that as I was left with my right eye swollen shot, a few broken ribs, sores all over my body and Tega junior was not left out. I don’t know what they did but peeing was a challenge for a long time! The girls had no mercy as they delivered their punishment on me. I still shudder when I remember that day. I still wake up in cold sweats some nights from nightmares of that night with Rita’s face breaking into the most sinister smile ever. I have been keeping to myself these days, still a little traumatized cos apparently hell hath no fury like a woman scorned or in this case three!
It was time for the holidays, festivities all around. Christmas was in the air. The streets were lined with decorations, Christmas trees of different sizes, colourful lights adorn shop corners and my house wasn’t an exception to all of this merriment as my mum already brought out the box we named “Christmas decorations” which consisted of no more than a worn out Christmas light which has seen better days and a table top Christmas tree already bent out of shape.
Off to the market, my uncle and I, to buy the chicken. This is always a big deal for us as this is the only time in the year we get to eat chicken.
“C’mon, hold the chicken, my friend!” This was my uncle, uncle Ben; my no-nonsense, never wrong, always right, “knock some sense into your head” uncle. He’s the only father figure I have since my dad passed away seven years ago. The chicken kept squirming, aware that it had come to the end of the road and was about to meet the same fate its other buddies met when they were never seen or heard from again. I was trying so hard and failing terribly to hold the chicken. Once again, I was facing my worst fears: holding the chicken and watching when it’s being killed, are usually the scariest moments for me but Uncle Ben always insists I watch! For the life of me, I have no idea why. From my apparent lack of control over the squirming bird and in true uncle Ben style, I got a very wonderful knock on my head and he grabbed the chicken from my hand.
“You are just so lazy, and weak!” He hissed and paid the chicken seller. We made our way home and proceeded to the second most dreaded chicken experience, the killing. And of course, I was made to stand and watch. As usual, uncle Ben sharpened the knife and picked the bird which, by now, was frantically trying to escape. I felt a bit sorry for the bird. Without batting an eyelid, he took the knife to the throat and started cutting. After much struggle, the chicken went limp but the most incredible thing happened. My uncle cut off the rope holding the legs; big mistake! Almost immediately, the chicken sprang up with its head dangling to one side, it started running around the compound.
“Jesu!! ” I shouted from where I was standing and I immediately ran to hide behind the door- where I could watch and still be safe. I was shaking so badly and the bowl I was holding dropped from my hand. It was a scary sight, seeing the chicken, with its head dangling from its body, running around. But it was interesting seeing uncle Ben running after the chicken, missing his steps and falling down in a bid to catch it. They kept running in circles until uncle Ben, I don’t know if he finally came to his senses or he got an imaginary knock on his head, stopped and decided to come at the bird from the other side and lo and behold, he caught the chicken as it was running head, sorry, neck on towards him. He picked the knife and cut off the head of the chicken which was still struggling for dear life up until the head came off.
He raised his head, still breathing heavily, shouted, “My friend, go and bring the hot water! Nonsense! You just stand dia dey look! Mxcheeeeew. Ode!”
I quickly turned so he wouldn’t see that I smiled all the way to the kitchen. Uncle Ben made a fool of himself today and it was fun to watch.